It is the Lord…Always Moving Closer

August 13, 2017

So often when we think we are following all of the instructions properly, we feel we should be all taken care of.  So the disciples travel doing everything that the Lord said.  They take off from shore and are drifting through the night.  Then the winds come and the waves start beating on the boat.  Why should this happen? The Lord gave them the instructions and they were following them.  Then they see a ghost-like figure coming towards them.  Again, panic comes to them.  They are following the rules, yet something bad seems to be on the horizon.  Finally, Peter comes to his senses.  We feel when we are following the Lord and following all of the instructions, nothing bad should ever happen to us.  Yet, we know it does.  We know tragedy and pain are a part of our lives.  So often our disappointment comes from expectations that the Lord has it all covered and taken care of.  Well, He does.  But His ways are not our ways.

What never changes in this story is the direction of the Lord.  He is always walking towards the disciples. He is always one directional.  He doesn’t get distracted.  He pulls Peter up, calms the storm while always walking towards the boat.  God is one directional. God is always moving towards us, even when we are in pain.  Our mistake is that we feel we should be rewarded for good behavior when we are following all the rules perfectly.  In my school days I would often say “I studied for the test, I prepared, and I will do well”.  But when the test included questions I did not know how to answer, I was concerned.  One time I had a religion class with a well-known Jesuit.  He was the author of many books and some of them were used for the final.  I had read them.  I went to class, I participated.  I expected to do well.  After all, it was a religion class in college.   When the test came, it was extremely difficult.  It had questions about some of the captions in the book; the captions below a picture.  Truly I was upset.  I knew the concepts, I understood the material but I thought this was really unfair.  Who asks questions about the captions of the pictures in his own book?  Obviously he did.  I learned a valuable lesson that day.  While I put the time in and was prepared, religion and theology are more than just concepts and integration, they are more than just a recitation of facts and scripture quotes. At their heart it is about awareness.  I was not aware of the importance of little things, like captions.

Jesus wants us to be aware of the little things.  He wants us to know that He is one directional and always moving towards us.  He wants us to realize that we are not special because we follow the rules and listen to His instructions.  We are special because He loves us and is always walking towards us.  What a gift we have in the Lord.  He will visit in the middle of the night, He will save us from drowning, He will lift us to safety, He will calm the winds that fill us with fear.  Even the captions on all of our pictures are important to Him.

Reverend John J. Ouper